Creating Outdoor Living Spaces
(NAPSI)-Baby boomers are downsizing to smaller homes. Some families are
faced with challenging economic times. Eco-conscious living is growing in
popularity, generating increased awareness of the carbon footprint of a home.
As a result, the average size of an American home has decreased for the first
time in more than 30 years.
As the square footage of homes gets smaller, homeowners are discovering
that the comforts of home are no longer defined by four walls. They are
literally thinking outside the box, expanding their living spaces into the
natural environment and creating year-round activity centers in the great
outdoors. In fact, a recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens magazine
revealed that 68 percent of homeowners say that an outdoor grilling and living
area is a top priority.
Creating an outdoor sanctuary for reading, dining, relaxing or playing is
well within reach of the average homeowner. First of all, outdoor space is
generally less expensive for build out than interior space, so it is an economically
savvy solution to expanding living space across a wide range of budgets.
Also, with the help of a local contractor, a master plan can be developed
that is implemented in phases over time.
When selecting products, homeowners should look for those that are low
maintenance, good looking and long lasting. CertainTeed Corporation, North
America's largest brand of building products, offers a comprehensive suite of
high-quality roofing, siding, soffit, trim, railing, decking and fence
products that are designed to coordinate beautifully and are backed by the
best warranties in the industry. The colors, styles and textures for all
these products can be accessed using CertainTeed's ColorView
online visualization tool, allowing homeowners to design their porches, decks
and yards and then see the results firsthand.
To learn more about products that can make your dream outdoor living space
a reality and locate a local contractor, visit www.certainteed.com.
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Colorful Home Decorating Ideas
(NAPSI)-When you're ready for a change, you can have a new home without
changing your address. How? With paint. Homeowners looking to change up their
decor have found that color trends in home design are deeply rooted in both
"then" and "now." The idea of decorating using colors
that reflect the new and the old takes shape by showcasing classic, calming
neutrals with a few energizing standout colors, such as bright pinks and
The Colors of "Then"--For those looking to incorporate a more
classic feel into their homes, neutrals such as deep gray-brown, muted and
warm beiges and asphalt gray-blue are choices that work together to create
environments that are calm and organic. Together, they allow for a merging of
modern and rustic styles. Creamy whites, serene sea foam blue-green, pale
butter and deep bronze-golds with metallic finishes provide a similar
feeling, but can create a more refined and romantic space.
The Colors of "Now"--Homeowners interested in giving their
spaces a more dramatic pop can join the trend toward incorporating bright,
vibrant colors into the home. Profound pinks and rusty oranges can be found
playing against off-whites and stony grays to create a space that is sensual,
eclectic and worldly. Playful yellows in combination with pure white and
sleek black pack a punch and are great for the home decorator who isn't
afraid to make a bold statement.
"Frivolous choices are a thing of the past," says Dee Schlotter,
paint color expert at The Voice of Color, PPG Pittsburgh Paints.
"Today's color trends have staying power. You renew instead of buying
new. You choose sustainable colors with an environmental and economic
awareness that's becoming second nature for us all."
Whether you want to stick with the classic colors of then, the current colors
of now or create your own style, you'll want a high-quality paint brand that
offers a variety of color choices. For example, PPG Pittsburgh Paints has
nearly 2,000 colors, unique color palettes and yearly color trends.
To learn more about the latest colors and trends and to find a nearby
paint dealer, visit www.voiceofcolor.com.
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Staging Your House For A Quick Sale
(NAPSI)-"Home staging" is increasingly popular among homeowners
seeking to sell their house. Curb appeal, clutter removal and a thorough
cleaning are important, but a few extra steps can dramatically improve the
appeal of your home to a buyer.
Design and model home expert Janice Jones, who oversees model home design
and decorating for Pulte Homes, offers a few tips to help you create an
up-to-date new and fresh look that can set your home apart from the
1. Use Color: Adding the right punch of color to accent walls or trim can
create depth, enhance kitchen cabinets or bring a boring bathroom to life.
Jones encourages homeowners to find pops of color in accessories, such as
throw pillows, coffee-table books and decorative canisters. The key is to
experiment and not be afraid to add extras such as exciting wall art or a
playful chair or an area rug. Different colors have different effects, Jones
• Red is stimulating and encourages self-confidence.
promotes happiness and celebration.
• Yellow is uplifting and light-hearted.
• Blue is calming in softer tones, promotes clarity in deeper ones.
• Green is the color of nature; it feels fresh and rejuvenating.
• Aqua is restful while pink is gentle and sweet-making a great
• Purple tones bring out a sense of compassion.
2. Less Can Be More: When Jones decorates model homes, she takes care not
to clutter spaces and aims to keep rooms inviting, comfortable and memorable.
This requires appropriate-sized furnishings that allow for maximum seating
"Use fewer accessories and try not to overstimulate," she
advised. "This makes living spaces appear much larger."
3. Focus on the Home: Homeowners achieve better results by displaying only
their most important collectible treasures in a bookcase, a see-through
furniture cabinet or open shelving. The focus should be on the house, not the
current homeowner's knickknacks.
4. Know the Latest Trends: Design trends have been moving toward simple
clean lines, an organic approach and a more relaxed look overall. Flat-screen
TVs, laptop computers and other technology have changed the need for heavy,
5. Even Small Changes Reap Rewards: Jones stresses that even a small
decorating project can make a significant difference.
"Interior design gives home sellers a great opportunity to make a
good first impression," she said. "Simple staging can be livable as
well as sellable."
For more home-staging tips from Pulte Homes, visit http://bit.ly/StagingTips.
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(NAPSI)-Decorating a baby nursery is all about new beginnings but also
provides a beautiful opportunity to celebrate heritage:
• Family Photos--Delve into family scrapbooks to uncover lost
treasures. A homemade collage of black-and-white photos, stamps, flags, pages
from passports and even copies of antique marriage certificates can pay
homage to your heritage.
• Textiles--Whether it is a rug with Mexican flair, woven baskets
inspired by Africa or silk linens from India, subtle touches can help
make your nursery one of a kind.
• Color--Paint colors can transform a space. Consider sunny earth
tones and sky blues to conjure the warmth of the Mediterranean, vibrant
colors of the Caribbean or even a mural to
reflect family history.
• Invest in the Future--Choose a nursery set that will grow with
your baby. Nursery 101, available in a variety of finishes at www.nursery101.com, includes all the
basic necessities and converts from infant to toddler, daybed and even
full-sized bed. For more decorating ideas, visit www.lajobi.com.
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Bright Ideas To Light Up Your Life
(NAPSI)-Household lights can dramatically shape the mood and design of
your home. According to Thomas O'Brien, interior designer and creator of the
Vintage Modern home collection at Target, lighting is a key design element
because it is both practical and decorative.
O'Brien recommends that when thinking about lighting, address one space at
a time. Additionally, he says there's no "one size fits all"
lighting scheme. Just as each room has a distinct purpose, it will also
require a specific mix of light, from overhead to table to task to candle and
even natural light. O'Brien likes to use lamps at eye level as well as
special, individual ceiling and wall fixtures to make a room visually
interesting and keep the light focused where it's needed. Soft pools of light
throughout a room are more attractive than just one main light source.
In the dining room, create ambience with easy-to-install dimmer switches.
Dimmers can tone down a chandelier or sconces with the flick of a switch to
produce low, flattering evening light. When choosing an overhead fixture for
this space, make sure it's in scale with the rest of the room, keeping the
height of the room and the proportions of the table in mind. Add buffet
lamps, torchieres and candles to fill in shadowed parts of the room.
Family and living rooms also benefit from a mix of lighting sources such
as floor lamps, sconces and table lamps. A tall floor lamp behind a sofa can
light one section of the room and also provide light for reading. You can add
in smaller reading lamps on side tables for light at different levels. Large,
sculptural center lamps on consoles or decorative tables create an easy
modern style, while an adjustable-arm task lamp is a functional piece that
also adds great style to the room.
Bedrooms require lighting that is functional, flattering and restful.
O'Brien recommends flanking the bed with a pair of similarly sized lamps,
suitable for reading. The shade of a bedside lamp should be slightly above or
at the same height as the reader to avoid glare. You can add atmospheric
light with a lamp tucked on top of an armoire. An easy chair can be paired
with a stylish floor lamp to create a spot for relaxing and reading. When
selecting lamp shades, choose a semiopaque material that directs light toward
the reader, not out into the room. Paper shades have a clean, translucent,
neutral glow and are brighter than fabric shades.
"There are wonderful lighting options available that mix simple
elegance with shape and function," says O'Brien. "Lighting is a
product that can be genuinely affordable and authentic at the same time. I'm
impressed by Target's terrific range of mix-and-match, budget-friendly lamps
For more low-cost lighting options, visit www.Target.com.
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Solar Roofing Provides A Ray Of Light For Homeowners' Energy Bills
(NAPSI)-According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 92 percent of
the American public agrees that it is important for the nation to develop and
use solar energy. Yet, while many homeowners like the idea of greening their
homes, few want to sacrifice good curb appeal. Fortunately, with new
advancements in solar roofing, homeowners no longer need to choose between an
eco-friendly roof and a beautiful home. With the right products, a roof with
solar technology can add value to a home and not just by being green.
Because the roof makes up 50 percent of a home's exterior, when homeowners
look for a roofing product, curb appeal is often at the top of the list.
However, homeowners also have to consider durability, impact resistance and
maintenance requirements--making it challenging to keep energy-efficient
roofing a priority. While eco-friendly trends are increasing, building
manufacturers have improved the sustainability of their products while
maintaining aesthetics--so homeowners can have it all.
Solar products now come in different "shades of green," all
designed to reduce your home's impact on the environment at varying degrees
using evolving technologies such as solar-reflective roofing and
photovoltaics. Good news for homeowners is that there are incentives for
choosing a product that helps power up a home and reduces the impact on the
environment. By installing an Energy Star−rated roofing product,
homeowners can earn up to a $1,500 credit on their income taxes.
A prime example of solar-reflective asphalt roofing that keeps your roof
cool by deflecting the sun's rays is Landmark Solaris from CertainTeed--a
company recently named an Energy Star Partner of the Year by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. By lowering surface temperatures up to 20
percent, you can give your air conditioner a rest during warm weather. To get
this level of performance, homeowners used to be limited to white shingles--which
may not match the color palette on the exterior of the home. You can now get
deep, rich, dark hues that are more classic and natural than traditional
A shining example of advancements in photovoltaics is EnerGen solar
roofing panels. Designed with curb appeal in mind, the system blends in and
lies flush to traditional asphalt shingles, generating power for your home
using clean, renewable energy.
With the combination of new technologies, incentives, improved performance
and aesthetic options that don't sacrifice curb appeal, yes it's clear that
solar roofing is here to stay.
For more information on solar roofing, visit www.certainteed.com.
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Tips For Refinishing A Basement Yourself
(NAPSI)-Whether you're looking to add a home office, extra bathroom, more
storage space or a second living room to your house, you might start by looking
down. Refinishing your basement can be a simple and relatively inexpensive
solution to get more out of your living space. Plus, you can do many basement
renovation projects yourself. Try these tips:
Before you tackle any work, think about how you'll be using your finished
basement. If you're going to have an entertainment center--complete with a
flat-screen TV, DVD player, video games and music--be sure you have enough
outlets to run your devices. Plan for plenty of overhead space if you are
including a game room with a pool table, dartboard and minirefrigerator.
If your basement will include a home office, you may need a wireless-Internet
signal booster to maintain quick surfing speed.
Basement windows are notorious for letting in plenty of outside air. One
solution for cutting energy bills is sealing cracks and gaps with a
silicone-based caulk. If splurging on replacement windows isn't in the
budget, consider heavy window coverings to help stop airflow. Additionally,
put timers on basement lamps to be certain they're turned off when the room
is not in use.
Stay Warm and Dry
Water is the No. 1 enemy of finished basements, so make sure to use a
waterproofing product such as Platon, available through
CertainTeed Corporation, to guard against the moisture that can seep through
a home's concrete slab. The durable, easy-to-install dimpled membrane forms
an impermeable moisture barrier and air gap, allowing the concrete to breathe
while keeping the floor dry. A value-added bonus: Platon
keeps the finished floor isolated from the cold, damp concrete, so it becomes
room temperature, not slab temperature. This helps keep floors warmer in
winter and odor- and condensation-free in summer.
Up To Code
Remember that basements are subject to the same building codes as the rest
of a house. Depending on the size of the project, you might even need a
building permit to begin work. Be certain to check with building officials
before you begin renovations and, if required, bring in an expert to help
with certain parts of your project. For more information, visit www.certainteed.com.
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Making Old Concrete Look New
(NAPSI)-While replacing a concrete driveway, sidewalk or patio can be a
costly prospect, resurfacing damaged concrete is a cost-effective repair that
won't break the bank.
When revitalizing old, worn or spalled concrete, the use of certain
patching or repair products, such as Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer, can
provide a durable, wear-resistant surface that will last the life of the
• First, the concrete must be rigorously cleaned of contaminants
(dirt, oil, chipped concrete) to ensure the resurfacer will adhere to the
existing concrete. Use a high-strength pressure washer to clean the surface
to be resurfaced and saturate the driveway and finish by removing any
• You'll need to repair any major pits, cracks or spalled areas
before applying the resurfacer.
• Remember, it is essential that control joints and expansion joints
are maintained, so use weather stripping to prevent the resurfacer from
spilling into joints.
• Add the resurfacer powder to the mixing water and use a drill with
a paddle extension to mix for about five minutes to a lump-free, pourable
consistency. If the mix is too thick, add water as recommended on the bag to
reach the desired consistency.
• Pour the resurfacer mixture from the bucket onto the surface.
• Using a long-handled squeegee, spread the resurfacer mixture
across the surface.
• For a slip-resistant professional finish, follow within five
minutes with a large push broom, making full strokes across the entire
distance of the current work area without stopping. If desired, a concrete
edging tool can be used within 20 minutes of pouring.
At a 1/16-inch thickness, one 40-pound bag of Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer
will cover about 90 square feet.
Wait six hours before allowing foot traffic and 24 hours for automobile
traffic onto the new surface, allowing longer curing times for cooler temperatures.
Also, be sure to protect the new surface from rain for at least six hours- or
longer in cool or damp weather.
For additional project ideas and application instructions, log on to www.quikrete.com or call (800) 282-5828.
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